When Marietta and Warren squared off against each other for the first time since 2011 on the baseball diamond Monday, it was all about the guys on the mound.
Tiger southpaw Evan Sawyer threw a complete game shutout and racked up 11 strikeouts to help Marietta top the Warriors 2-0.
“Coach McIntire and Joe (Roberts) were calling a great game back there,” Sawyer said. “I felt good with all my pitches, but pretty much I was just throwing whatever they told me to and let the defense work and it worked out it well.”
“Sawyer on the mound did one heckuva job,” said Marietta co-head coach Larry Burke.
Warrior righty Garrett Kennedy was the hard-luck loser, also going the distance and surrendering just two runs while punching out six.
Offensively, it was the Tigers who were able to come through when it mattered.
In the bottom of the second inning, senior Nick Spurr and junior Adam McKnight led off with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, senior Ben Barnas pulled a ball through the left side to drive in Spurr and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
It was one inning later that the orange and black tacked on an insurance run.
Sophomore Devin Leister got things started with a base hit and adavanced to second on junior Steve Herron’s sacrifice bunt. Spurr, batting in the cleanup spot in the lineup, fulfilled his duty as a run producer by driving in Leister on a single to right field.
“We just manufactured some runs which we’ve been doing all year long,” Burke said. “Neither team hit the ball tremendously well. We, early, were able to manufacture a couple runs on some bunts and things like that.”
Spurr was 2-3 in the game and played a part in both Marietta runs. McKnight also collected a pair of base hits, while Leister, Herron, Barnas and sophomore Austin Hefter accounted for the four other Tiger base knocks.
Meanwhile, Sawyer breezed through the Warrior lineup until the top of the seventh.
Kennedy started the inning with a grounder to third, but reached on an error. Lance Schafer then blooped a single to left to give Warren runners at first and second with nobody out.
Arguably the biggest play of the game came the next at-bat with David Ryan at the plate. Ryan got jammed on a Sawyer offering and blooped it back toward the mound. Sawyer came forward to make the catch and quickly fired to second base to double off Kennedy.
“I’ve always kind of loved that as a pitcher, just being the competitor that I am,” Sawyer said of the jam. “Really being able to dig down and fight whenever you need to fight in a close game situation there at the end. I’d say I just like playing under that pressure.”
Sawyer struck the next batter out to end the game and give Marietta its sixth victory in eight games. Warren fell to 3-2 with the loss.
Schafer and Kennedy had the only two hits of the game for Warren off Sawyer. The Warriors host Logan Wednesday in an SEOAL bout in Vincent.
“Whenever you have two good pitchers going, whichever one gets a couple flares here and there and then you get a break, that’s the guy that pulls it out,” said Warren head coach Mark Farr. “The Sawyer kid pitched a great game. I think they both pitched well and it was just one of those high school games you like your team to be a part of.”
The Tigers are back in action today when they play host to the Morgan Raiders.